You might think that sprint race planning is just more of the same, but experience has shown it probably needs a lot more care, certainly when looked at in terms of effort per kilometre of race! Fairness is a concern for any orienteering event, but the problems are made much more apparent for sprint races. What follows is based on my experience as a controller at several recent big sprint races (British Sprint Championships at Milton Keynes, World Cup sprint races at the University of Surrey in Guildford and at Battersea Park) and as a spectator at sprint World Championships and Park World Tour events. (Reproduced from CompassSport, December 2006)
Just some of the things that went on behind the scenes at the World Cup races in 2005. (Reproduced from Pacemaker 95, May 2005)
My normal experience with controlling is that the planner has a first go at the courses. There is then a reasonably short discussion between planner and controller, and the planner comes up with a second set of courses that are pretty close to the final thing. With these two events it didn’t work like that, for many reasons. Planner Andy Jones and I probably went through at least five iterations of course shape to determine start, finish, spectator controls and course flow, before even more detailed reviews of exact courses. Read on to see just some of the problems we had to overcome.